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Old 09-25-11, 04:51 PM   #1
powerhouse
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RANT: ------- Tour Buses!

I don't know about you, but there's something about tour buses I've come to really dislike. It's that no matter how well versed bicyclists might be in rules of the road, no matter how much room bicyclists are able to give, the bus driver believes that s/he has the road no matter what. From my own experience, I know of two cases in which this took place.

The first example took place several years ago on the Cadilac Mountain Road in Maine's Acadia National Park. On that occaision, I was riding my bicycle up the five-mile long winding road toward the summit. The road had two lanes with a very narrow shoulder bordering the precipice. As I pedaled along, I took as little space in the traffic lane as I could as riding on the shoulder all the way up was impossible. It was cloudy and foggy, but I was brightly dressed with a large, blinking, red light on the back of my bicycle. At one point, I reached the end of a straight stretch of road with a hair-pin tur ahead. It was there that the tour bus came up from behind and passed me with hardly 6 inches to spare. The close call and the air wash of the bus swept me uncomfortably close to the edge of the precipice but I managed to stop in time. After collecting my wits, I rode the rest of the way up to the summit where the driver was sitting alone waiting for his passengers to return. I rolled up to his bus, dismounted, and proceeded to tell him what he did and almost caused. His reply to me was that I shouldn't have been so far out in the road.

The second example took place a few weeks ago while on a group ride involving over 100 cyclists. We were riding back into South Portland, ME on a narrow, two-lane residential street. There were cars parked on both sides of the road with a steep sidewalk on the other side of them. The street also had heavy auto traffic going in both directions, making it more difficult for bicyclists to proceed along the route. On this particular ride, I wore a bright bicycle club shirt, black bibs, and a bright yellow wind jacket. My bicycle was equipped with two BRT-5 white blinkies on the handlebars and red superflash blinkies attatched to the chainstays panier, and helmet Then the tour bus came along. I didn't know it was there until it was almost right behind me. Its driver pulled forward as if he/she would make me a permanent part of the street. I pulled over toward the parked cars, still in danger of either being doored or run over. The bus eventually passed, almost hitting my handlebars. At the end of the ride, I learned that other bicyclists had close calls with the bus.

There is the common saying that bicyclists have the same rights on the same roads. Some bicyclists also believe in "taking the lane" With my luck with tour buses, it seems neither belief works. Those are my thoughts.
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Old 09-25-11, 07:33 PM   #2
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Buses---tour or not, are easily the most obnoxious of all roadway vehicles. Unlike trucks, they are box shaped and poor aerodynamically, and thus generate a ferocious shock wave---as you noticed. They are not raised up off the roadway, so that some of the 'whoosh' can disappate as with trucks.

The drivers are far less professional. It probably comes from the passengers they carry and the hoity-toity idea of how x-times greater they are than any other vehicle on the road. With mass transit, since they are public employees, there is a conflict of interest when a bus hits a pedestrian or other vehicle--to say nothing of the disgusting symbiosis between Bus drivers and police, public employees also.

In addition, most buses have the engine in the rear, so you can't hear them coming but you can sure smell them going. At least tour buses tend to stop only at their destination; whereas buses in general stop to disgorge/board passengers at regular intervals, somehow managing to hog both the right lane and the shouler, if there is one.


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Old 09-25-11, 08:43 PM   #3
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if you are taking the lane when a tour bus passes you, at least you have somewhere to go when they pass too closely. I see no reason to pull over and help them make close passes.
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Old 09-25-11, 10:15 PM   #4
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Be glad you do not live on an island with hundreds of tour buses on narrow roads. Not to mention having a commute that also covers the highway between the airport and Waikiki.

You have to take and control the lane. Once the bus drivers moves over enough for a safe pass, then if you wish, you can give a little extra room by moving a little back right.

Had one tour bus driver intentionally force me out of my lane (he was watching me in his mirror the entire time). I flipped him off (something I rarely do in the event that I know the driver or because that is the reaction many JAMs wish to illicit, but in this case something just made me react). Half a mile down the road, he had pulled over, gotten out of his bus and wanted to talk.

Driver: You flipped me off. (spoken in broken pigeon)
Cyclist: You intentionally ran me off the road.
Driver: But you flipped me off.
Cyclist: Then do not ran me off the road.
Driver: There was no need you flipped me off.
Cyclist: Let's call the cops, I will report your assault with a deadly weapon by running me off the road and you can report me for flipping you off.
Driver: But there was no need for you flipped me off.
Cyclist: Get a life, next time I will call the cops and your boss.
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Old 09-25-11, 11:41 PM   #5
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There is the common saying that bicyclists have the same rights on the same roads. Some bicyclists also believe in "taking the lane" With my luck with tour buses, it seems neither belief works. Those are my thoughts.
I am one of those cyclists' that feels strongly about 'taking the lane'. I have been hit twice, when I stupidly broke my own rule, and road 'in the gutter'. Neither incident involved any kind of bus. When I have a bus behind me, regardless of Tour/School/Public Transportation, I continue to 'take the lane'. Near my house, there are two local public transportation bus routes along with a school bus that go on a two-lane blacktop. When I am on the two-lane blacktop, I will get passed by a bus, but they have to break the law to do it. Because I basically make them cross over the double-yellow line into oncoming traffic to pass me.

I know the bus is around five tons but, I also know the bus driver won't risk hitting me with passengers/students on board.

Cyclists' have a legal right to ride on the road. It is in the state traffic code. By 'taking the lane', a cyclist is not only asserting their right to ride on the road and, keeping themselves from being run into the curb. If a motorist passes close when 'taking the lane', they will still have room to keep the motorist from hitting them, without being shoved into the curb.
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Old 09-25-11, 11:42 PM   #6
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if you are taking the lane when a tour bus passes you, at least you have somewhere to go when they pass too closely. I see no reason to pull over and help them make close passes.
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Old 09-25-11, 11:48 PM   #7
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I don't know about you, but there's something about tour buses I've come to really dislike. It's that no matter how well versed bicyclists might be in rules of the road, no matter how much room bicyclists are able to give, the bus driver believes that s/he has the road no matter what. From my own experience, I know of two cases in which this took place.

The first example took place several years ago on the Cadilac Mountain Road in Maine's Acadia National Park. On that occaision, I was riding my bicycle up the five-mile long winding road toward the summit. The road had two lanes with a very narrow shoulder bordering the precipice. As I pedaled along, I took as little space in the traffic lane as I could as riding on the shoulder all the way up was impossible. It was cloudy and foggy, but I was brightly dressed with a large, blinking, red light on the back of my bicycle. At one point, I reached the end of a straight stretch of road with a hair-pin tur ahead. It was there that the tour bus came up from behind and passed me with hardly 6 inches to spare. The close call and the air wash of the bus swept me uncomfortably close to the edge of the precipice but I managed to stop in time. After collecting my wits, I rode the rest of the way up to the summit where the driver was sitting alone waiting for his passengers to return. I rolled up to his bus, dismounted, and proceeded to tell him what he did and almost caused. His reply to me was that I shouldn't have been so far out in the road.

The second example took place a few weeks ago while on a group ride involving over 100 cyclists. We were riding back into South Portland, ME on a narrow, two-lane residential street. There were cars parked on both sides of the road with a steep sidewalk on the other side of them. The street also had heavy auto traffic going in both directions, making it more difficult for bicyclists to proceed along the route. On this particular ride, I wore a bright bicycle club shirt, black bibs, and a bright yellow wind jacket. My bicycle was equipped with two BRT-5 white blinkies on the handlebars and red superflash blinkies attatched to the chainstays panier, and helmet Then the tour bus came along. I didn't know it was there until it was almost right behind me. Its driver pulled forward as if he/she would make me a permanent part of the street. I pulled over toward the parked cars, still in danger of either being doored or run over. The bus eventually passed, almost hitting my handlebars. At the end of the ride, I learned that other bicyclists had close calls with the bus.

There is the common saying that bicyclists have the same rights on the same roads. Some bicyclists also believe in "taking the lane" With my luck with tour buses, it seems neither belief works. Those are my thoughts.
You really need to learn to take the lane.

Buses to me are easily the scariest vehicles out there, but when there is not enough room to safely pass, a bicycle can take the whole, entire lane. Let the bus wait.
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Old 09-26-11, 02:48 AM   #8
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With buses I take a break, the few minutes to let them clear the area is easily worth it. leap frogging each other isn't worth the mental exercise of trying to figure out where it's safest to pass one another. The tour buses I deal with are the one's that drop off tourists at the motels on the beachside in Miami, FL. As a cyclist, I have to realize they are doing their job of delivering tourists to stay here for a week or whatever. So they will be driving, parking, loading & unloading people and luggage. I give them their space & time. When I do ride around them, I am cautiously slow. Same holds for cabbies and city buses. It can be annoying & inconvenient, but a couple minutes is far better than the alternative of being crushed by one of them.
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Old 09-26-11, 08:32 AM   #9
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My mirror on my left lets me see whats behind me.
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Old 09-26-11, 08:52 AM   #10
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My mirror on my left lets me see whats behind me.
It won't stop what's behind you from running you off the road. This makes no sense.

I think that bus drivers are no worse than other road usere, it's just that they are so big and create so much more turbulance that it's a little more hair raising when they pass close. Like the others said, take the lane when appropriate no matter who's behind you.
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Old 09-26-11, 09:14 AM   #11
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In the example of the bus in Acadia National Park, I did report the driver to the local and Park Police but nothing came of it.
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Old 09-26-11, 09:31 AM   #12
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I had to deal with traffic of all kinds riding in the Canadian Rockies, including a LONG stretch on the Trans-Canada, 3 years ago, and I have to say, tour bus drivers are without a doubt the WORST drivers on the road. It's like they have some kind of inferiority complex, and have to take it out on somebody, so...

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Old 09-26-11, 01:02 PM   #13
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Buses---tour or not, are easily the most obnoxious of all roadway vehicles. Unlike trucks, they are box shaped and poor aerodynamically, and thus generate a ferocious shock wave---as you noticed. They are not raised up off the roadway, so that some of the 'whoosh' can disappate as with trucks.

The drivers are far less professional. It probably comes from the passengers they carry and the hoity-toity idea of how x-times greater they are than any other vehicle on the road. With mass transit, since they are public employees, there is a conflict of interest when a bus hits a pedestrian or other vehicle--to say nothing of the disgusting symbiosis between Bus drivers and police, public employees also.

In addition, most buses have the engine in the rear, so you can't hear them coming but you can sure smell them going. At least tour buses tend to stop only at their destination; whereas buses in general stop to disgorge/board passengers at regular intervals, somehow managing to hog both the right lane and the shouler, if there is one.


roughstuff
Back decades ago when I was really jsut starting I got a couple of books of bike rides. There was one called somethgin like 'The Big Banana'. If I recall correctly it used the river bike paths a lot and was between 70 and 80 miles long (and shaped a bit like a banana).

But what do I remember the most? The 5-10 mole secion on the streets along a bus line where I kept playing leapfrog with the same bus. If it had been during the week it would have been even worse. At least I was able to back off and not get caught up with the next bus.
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Old 09-26-11, 01:41 PM   #14
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I live in Niagara Falls which, as you may have heard, is a bit of a tourist town.
I will vouch that tour buses are the scariest drivers around.
They often have a schedule to keep and won't deviate from it.
Running a few bikes off the road and narrowly missing pedestrians crossing the street are small prices to pay to getting to the drop offs on time.
There are certain areas of town I simply avoid because I don't want to die.
I have no advice except to accept there are some dangers you can only avoid not change
.
Regular buses are determined to get where they want but they don't want to kill you.
Tour buses have a schedule to keep and NOTHING else matters.

I worked at a tourist site when I was in high school and they are pretty bossy and will yell and scream if you mess up their schedule. I imagine their bosses would then yell at them if they are late, so I don't think the company they work for would care if they "almost" hurt you.
I am of course only referring to the worst tour bus drivers.
Many are friendly people, but the worst of them are the worst drivers out there.

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Old 09-26-11, 04:18 PM   #15
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Dealing with bus drivers is a healthy reminder of one's own mortality.
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Old 09-26-11, 04:24 PM   #16
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I do everything I can to NOT ride next to a bus, and that includes turning onto another street instead of passing/being passed by one. I have to wonder if they're not all driven by sadists.
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Old 09-26-11, 04:26 PM   #17
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we don't have too many tour buses around here, but I have to say that our city buses are generally driven carefully around cyclists. Of course, there are exceptions. But it appears that they have been trained how to drive around cyclists.
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Old 09-26-11, 07:30 PM   #18
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The city buses (lots of double deckers) are well driven here - despite the usual jokes about Asian driving being largely true.

It is the tour buses and the private school buses that try to kill me on a regular basis.
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Old 09-28-11, 03:37 PM   #19
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OK.

I am in the UK

I AM a Bus Driver

Now I cannot comment for the small private companies and the tour bus companies, but I can comment on the 2 largest bus companies in my area - both part of multi-national groups.

We have extensive training in driving safely - especially where the lesser protected (pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists) are concerned and we have regular driving assessments and constant training, also all our buses are plastered with CCTV. That doesn't mean that we don't have any idiots about, but I find the biggest threat to cyclists (and in fact all road users in general) here in the UK are drivers of Tipper Trucks. They seem to hoon about without a care in the world, often with only one hand on the wheel and the other holding a phone or a drink of some sort.
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Old 09-28-11, 06:13 PM   #20
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A couple of local bus drivers.

http://www.kitv.com/video/27670634/detail.html
http://www.kitv.com/news/17754207/detail.html
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Old 09-29-11, 01:13 AM   #21
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Playing a video game while driving a bus is not cause for termination? Holy carnage, batman. I used to drive commercial trucks and we were fined for any lawbreaking and fired if it was dangerous. Maybe the fact that the company self-insured had something to do with its safety policies.
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Old 09-29-11, 01:41 AM   #22
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Yeah bus drivers are bad. Taxi drivers are bad. Bus drivers don't seem to be aware of their surroundings or in control of their vehicle, it may be because they are molly-coddled with bus lanes and don't need to think or deal with traffic. I am an emergency vehicle driver and commute to work. When i'm responding to an emergency i would rather have 3 big trucks in front of me than 1 bus, the truck drivers see you early, get out of the way safely and have the road clear by the time you get there. Bus drivers either don't see you in their mirror and pull out on you without warning or freeze like a rabbit in the headlights.
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Old 09-29-11, 09:31 AM   #23
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I love buses for drafting and riding near on my commute. They are large, so they make a good traffic block that you can hide behind. They also make a great wind block. They tend to drive at a steady 25 mph which is just the right speed for a good draft. They usually don't brake hard. They are one of the most predictable vehicles on city roads.
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Old 09-29-11, 09:41 AM   #24
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I love buses for drafting and riding near on my commute. They are large, so they make a good traffic block that you can hide behind. They also make a great wind block. They tend to drive at a steady 25 mph which is just the right speed for a good draft. They usually don't brake hard. They are one of the most predictable vehicles on city roads.
Around here, my chief complaint about bus drivers is that they accelerate too fast and drop me during a morning commute. VERY inconsiderate!
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Old 09-29-11, 08:59 PM   #25
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I love buses for drafting and riding near on my commute. They are large, so they make a good traffic block that you can hide behind. They also make a great wind block. They tend to drive at a steady 25 mph which is just the right speed for a good draft. They usually don't brake hard. They are one of the most predictable vehicles on city roads.
Drafting is a plus, the diesel fumes and heat they generate are negatives. It's hot and muggy in Miami, FL for the most part and following a bus can be even more stifling.
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